Saturday, June 30, 2007
An interview with Adventures Underground.

If you thought I'd managed to talk myself out in the Question and Answer interview format, you were sadly mistaken.

Proof of this is evident in a new interview over at ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND.

I'm almost always surprised when I go back and read these interviews. You see, I've got a weird memory. I forget things really easily. Sometimes my friends tell stories about me, things that I don't remember doing. Or they repeat jokes back to me that I don't remember telling in the first place. Sometimes when I'm revising my own books, I stumble onto scenes I don't remember writing. In fact, I just found one of those where Elodin takes Kvothe to a brothel as part of instruction into the subtle and volatile art of naming. Funny stuff.

My point is, after I do one of these interviews, I usually forget what I've said. So when the Q & A goes live and the person hosting it sends me a link, I get to read them over and experience them with fresh eyes. Sometimes I agree with what I've said. Most of the time, actually. Sometimes I disagree, or find myself wishing I'd phrased things a little more clearly.

Sometimes I find myself thinking things like, "Wow, that's exactly what I think!"Then I feel dumb because, well, of course it's what I think. Or at least, it's what I thought back when I wrote it a week or two ago. My opinions are fluid and frangible. Does this mean I occasionally contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself.

I think this is healthy. Or at least it makes me happy, which means it's healthy for me. I've always felt that I've had the right to disagree with anyone about anything. How horrible then would it be if I didn't feel free to disagree with myself?

Enough rambling. You can go CHECK OUT THE INTERVIEW if you're curious.

They also have a few signed copies of my book there, if you're into that sort of thing.

pat

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Thursday, June 28, 2007
An evening in the life....

I don't drink, as a rule. Alcohol just doesn't do much for me. I also don't drive much. I've lived the majority of my life in a smallish town where you can get anywhere important by walking less than a mile. For about twelve of my fifteen years living here, I've never even owned a car.

This, combined with a tendency toward losing things, mean that I rarely carry a photo ID on my person.

These are the things you need to understand if you're going to appreciate this story.

I was in the grocery store buying food because I had company coming over. A few of the students I have come to know well in the last couple years are graduating soon. One of the best of these is leaving this Sunday. She and one other particularly bright and shining student have been good friends to me this last year. We go to each other's houses for dinner, watch movies, and talk honest talk into the late hours of night. We are comfortable and loving and non-judgmental with each other. They are graduating and moving on with their lives, and I am staying here and moving on with mine.

This, I think, will be what makes me leave my job as a teacher eventually. Not the low pay, or the high workload, or lack of professional respect because I don't have enough letters behind my name. Those things are familiar and bearable, like the smell of the papermill when the wind blows from the south. But good friends are rare to me, and I have no knack for letting go of people I care about. I can't imagine what will happen to me if this happens every couple years for the next decade.

But there will be plenty of time for me to be melancholy when they are gone. So now I'm simply glad of their company when I can get it, and I'm trying to catch as much quality time with them as I can before they leave.

Hence the grocery store. This is a purely recreational shopping run. My house is already stocked with everything I need to survive: ramen and pasta and microwave burritos. I have simple tastes, but I want to be a good host. So I buy cherries and apples and cheese and bread. I buy pistachios and chocolate and soy ice cream for the friend who has a lactose intolerance.

Then I think to buy some wine. My friends enjoy wine and I enjoy being a good host. I also occasionally like to try a glass of wine, like a child playing dress-up. It's fun for me because when I drink wine I get to pretend that I'm an adult.

So I go to the liquor section and browse around. My knowledge of wine could very easily be written entire onto the palm of my hand, so my choices are based on educated guessery and how cool the bottle looks. I pick out a swirly bottle and something with Asti on the label, because I'm pretty sure that means sweet. I like sweet.

When I get into the checkout line, I realize I don't have my ID on me. This usually ends up being an issue whenever I get it into my head to buy liquor. Sure, I look like I'm of age, but looks don't count for much. Once, when I was 26, I had an undercover policeman pull me out of a liquor store and ask to see my license. When I showed it to him, he raised a surprised eyebrow and shrugged, vaguely apologetic. "You weren't acting like you were old enough to be in there," he said. I took it as a complement.

So there I am in the grocery line with booze and no ID. I've been in this situation before. As I've mentioned, I rarely carry one. I never think of it until I get into the checkout line carrying a bottle.

I have a number of strategies for dealing with this. Normally I just play it cool, hoping that if I act like I buy booze all the time, they'll just let me through and not ask any questions.

This is my first line of defense, and it works about half the time.

When people ask to see my ID, it's usually all over. At that point my strategy varies depending on what mood I'm in. If the booze was an impulse buy, I usually just put it back. If I'm feeling particularly cussed, I'll argue. This doesn't work, but I do usually achieve a vague moral victory wherein I get the teller to say something along the lines of, "I'm only following orders."

Once, when somebody asked to see my ID I just raised an eyebrow and gave the teller a look. It was a look that said, "Come on. Just look at me. Witness my full and manly beard. I'm not some punk kid buying a bottle of strawberry Boone's Farm. I'm an adult." She gave me a sheepish, apologetic grin, and scanned my bottle of Baileys.

I smiled and said, "Thanks." But inside I was jumping up and down thinking, "Ha! I fooled you! I really am a punk kid! And I have a bottle of strawberry Boone's Farm at home in my fridge!"

So, again, I'm in the grocery line, running through my options and trying to pick my best strategy. I get to the front of the line, and I'm getting ready to try the raised eyebrow thing again, when the teller looks at me and says, "So when is book two coming out?" She scans my bottles without asking for any sort of ID.

I try to play it cool and say something suave about my revisions. But the truth is, I'm thrown by this. I'm not used to it. In the last month I've had people come up to me in at the DMV, at Best Buy, at the video rental place, and at the local ice cream shop (twice).

I know it's just a local phenomenon. Stevens Point is pretty small, and there have been a handful of "Local Boy Does Good" articles in the papers with unflattering but rather accurate pictures of me. Once you know what I look like, I'm easy to recognize. Generally speaking I look like a Russian dictator, or a Harry Potter character. Or a homeless guy. Or a Muppet.

That's all. I just wanted to share my surreal moment with you all. As with all my stories, I've wandered, but we do have an ending. This is the good place to stop if you want a happy one. There, at the store, things end with me feeling famous and cool, though somewhat flustered and uncomfortable. Possibly the first time in my life I've ever had anything resembling a fame-related perk.

If you keep following the story later into the night, the ending is bittersweet. A nice evening. Talk. Food. Wine. But it's the last evening, and the three of us know it.

Keep going and it the story ends dark. All stories do if you follow them long enough. One friend leaves sooner, the other later. We promise to stay in touch, but we don't, because that is the way of things. We'll try e-mail, but it won't be the same. Distance doesn't allow for intimacy. You can't chat over e-mail. Not really. You can't drink wine. Or hug. Or pretend to be grown-ups. Or pretend to be kids. They won't call when they're bored, and we won't get together to watch movies and give each other backrubs. They won't come over and ask for advice and bitch about the transient, incompetent men in their lives. I won't be able to lay on the couch with my head in someone's lap and cry because I miss my mom.

Early on it will be hard, and the absent ache of them will be constant, impossible to ignore as a missing tooth. It will get easier, because that is the way of things. Moving on is what people do. We're designed for it. We'll forget the feel of it, the closeness of dimly lit conversations, the smell of each other. In time we'll only remember each other in a vague, colorless way. Then even that will fade, and we won't realize that anything is missing from our lives at all.

Goodnight all,

pat

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I've Been Nominated for a Quill Award.

More specifically, NOTW has been nominated for the award.

Huh. You know, I think that's the first time I've used the abbreviation for my book instead of its actual title. I don't think I like doing it... It feels weird, like cheating. Names are important things, you know.

Anyway, the news. I've been nominated for a QUILL AWARD. Don't feel bad if you've never heard of it. I hadn't either, before I got this news.

Apparently it's like the Oscars, except it's for the publishing world instead of the movie world. It's only been around a couple years, but the award carries some weight, and the ceremony is a big black-tie dealio. Gala, or so they say. They show it on TV and everything. So the good news is that I have an excuse to wear my tuxedo. The bad news is that I'll probably need to get a haircut, and probably lose some weight. I'm too shaggy and round to look dashing right now. I look more like a muppet than James Bond.

The Quills have 18 Categories. Naturally enough, I'm in Sci-fi/Fantasy, and I'm going up against some real heavy hitters.

Farthing: by Jo Walton

Getting to Know You by David Marusek

Brasyl by Ian McDonald

The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod


While I haven't had to read any of their books yet, I know their names. And I have to say that I'd be proud to get my ass handed to me by any of them. Right now my money is on Jo Walton, I've heard nothing but good stuff about Farthing.

That's all for now, back to revisions on book two....

Best,

pat

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Sunday, June 24, 2007
Orson Scott Card likes the book.
The bland, matter-of-fact-ness of the above title in no way reflects my authory delight at discovering this NEWS POST by an author you might have heard of, Orson Scott Card.

The bit about the Name of the Wind about halfway down the page. For those of you who are link-phobic or too lazy to dig the piece about my book out of Card's long, multifarious post. Here's the good bits version:

Not a word of the nearly-700-page book is wasted. Rothfuss does not pad. He's the great new fantasy writer we've been waiting for, and this is an astonishing book. [...]

If you're a reader of fantasy or simply someone who appreciates a truly epic-scale work of fiction, don't go through this summer without having read it. At the very least it will keep you busy till the last Harry Potter comes out. But I warn you -- after The Name of the Wind, the Harry Potter novel might seem a little thin and -- dare I say it? -- childish. You have been warned.

Yeah. I'll take that.

Did I mention that it was ORSON SCOTT CARD who wrote it?

Anyway, I just got back from a family weekend and I'm digging my way out from under about 500-600 emails. So if you're waiting for a response from me, thanks for your patience. If you're not waiting, that's fine too. You just keep on not waiting. That'll work out just fine.

Later,

pat

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Thursday, June 21, 2007
An Interview at Bookloons.
I actually did this Q & A more than a month ago. Then I forgot to make any mention of it on the page. Because I'm a spaz.

So it's probably new to most everyone here. If you're interested, you can GO CHECK IT OUT.


Later,

pat

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
A new review at Strange Horizons

Maybe it's just been a while since I've read an in-depth review of the book (And by "a while" I mean a couple weeks.) but this one seems different. It's more.... articulate. Not that my other reviews have been composed of grunts and spitting, but this one seemed... I dunno... extra articulate.

Looking at it again, though. I don't think that's where the difference is. Maybe this reviewer was thoughtful in a different way. She spends a fair amount of time musing about why the book works, the nature of fantasy, what makes an epic. Stuff like that. It's not a rambly soapbox though, it all relates to her discussion of the book.

Anyway, I think it's a lovely review, above and beyond the fact that she's very flattering about the book.

She also compares me to Dickens. Which I'm still how sure how I feel about. I'm pretty sure she meant it as a complement, though. So I'll take it that way.

For those of you who'd like to read the whole thing, you can find it HERE.

There's also a place for comments below the actual review. I was going to leave one for her, mentioning how much I liked the review, but then I couldn't decide if it was weird to post a comment on my own review. Plus I didn't want to look like an ass-kisser.

Gech. I'm rambling. I've got to go get some sleep.


Later,

pat


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Monday, June 18, 2007
How cool is this?


Okay. I'll admit it. I was googling around about my book, and look what I found:





It's the cover for the Dutch version of the Name of the Wind. Personally, I think it looks cool as hell.

I don't read Dutch, but I can almost piece together what they're saying on the publisher's website. If you're curious, the page is over here....

Later,

pat

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Calling all Browncoats.
I'm guessing that a large portion of you are Joss Whedon fans. Specifically, that you have watched, loved, and thoroughly geeked out to the the pure joy that is Firefly.

(Can I please assume this? I like to think of you all as intelligent, sensible people. If I discover that y'all haven't watched Firefly, I will become ensaddened, and my little world will begin to crumble.)





Alright. Now that I know we're all part of the same cool kids' club, please let me direct your attention to THIS....

Yes. It's an opportunity to see Serenity on the big screen, AND the money goes to a worthy charity at the same time. It doesn't get any better than that....

Go. Reserve your tickets now. Spread the word.

Can't stop the signal....

pat


P.S. For those of you that might have missed the boat, part two of the Dribble of Ink interview is up now.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Yet Another Interview....
If you're into this sort of thing, it's over here.

This review was a little more casual, and smart-assery was encouraged. So while I always enjoy the opportunity to talk about books and writing, I enjoyed this interview in a different way. Not only was it more relaxed, but I got to be snarky.

Plus I was allowed to cuss a little and I made fun of the interviewer for being long-winded. Which is pretty funny if you think about it....

pat

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Friday, June 8, 2007
If anyone's interested....
There's a new Q & A interview thingie up over here. It's a newish blog called Dribble of Ink that has reveiws, author interviews, and stuff like that....

I have a tendency to rant and/or pontificate, so this is actually just half of a longer interview. I think he'll be posting part two in a couple of days.

And for those of you who were asking, don't worry, I'm going to get around to the other piece of the Wiscon post soon. It's just been a busy couple of days....

pat

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007
My Book, the Movie...
.

I forgot to mention this when it happened, so I'll mention it now.

I did an interview with a cool site called MY BOOK, THE MOVIE.

If you're interested in different author's daydreams on the subject of turning their books into films, you should go check it out.

pat

P.S. After you've finished reading the interview, I'd be curious who y'all thing would be good casting choices for the various characters in the book. Post them in the comments below and let's geek out a little.

.

posted by Pat at 36 Comments



Monday, June 4, 2007
Productive shame....
.

Over the years, I have perfected the art of dicking around.

This skill is not as common as you might think. Anyone can procrastinate, that's just the absence of action. In the hands of a master such as myself, the mere act of not-doing something is raised to the level of art, and beyond. My ability to not-do things is considered by many people to be nigh-transcendental in its scope.

Just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about, back when I was in college, I was putting off writing a paper. Now anyone can put off a paper by watching TV or playing a video game, that's a cakewalk. I, however, was watching snow melt on the sidewalk and occasionally poking at things with a stick. That's all, and I'd been keeping it up for four hours.

So profound was my non-productivity that a nearby Buddhist monk was embarrassingly upstaged. He was so thrown off his groove that not only did he fail to reach nirvana, but he broke into a nearby pet store and promptly punched a kitten.

Anyway. Today I was dicking around. Just casually, enough to keep my hand in. I'm supposed to be working on the revisions of my second book. But instead I went to the video store to see if they have the third disk of Avatar: the last Airbender.

They don't. So I wander around looking for something else. Then, out of nowhere, a young woman comes up to me. She's bright-eyed and lovely, and as soon as I see her all I can think of is the fact that I am profoundly not bright-eyed and lovely. I'm whatever opposite of that is. Shambly and shabby. Once, when I was enjoying the warm summer sun on a parkbench, I took nodded off for a nap. When I woke up, there was several dollars worth of loose change in one of my shoes. That's what I look like.

Anyway this lovely young woman comes up to me and tells me that she loves my book. I'm still not used to this sort of thing happening, and I'm caught flatfooted. Still, it's nice. She says some very flattering things and tells me how much she wants to read the second book. She's waiting for it, she says.

Without meaning too, she shames me into leaving the video store without renting anything. But it's a good kind of shame. I felt excited at the thought of going back to work on the book. And while it probably wouldn't be fair to call me bright-eyed as I drove home, I was at least somewhat less shambly feeling. That's worth something.

pat

P.S. My spellchecker doesn't recognize, "dicking" as a valid word. I think I need to call Microsoft and offer to help them with their casual language filter.

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